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50k Mile-Cruiser: 1960 Studebaker Lark

Studebaker merged with Packard in 1954 to help preserve both brands. Yet by 1958, Packard was all but gone and Studebaker-Packard Corp. was hanging on by a thread. Enter the Lone Ranger, aka the Lark, a new compact that the company needed to revive sales. It worked for a while until the bigger auto manufacturers got into the game. This 1960 Lark 2-door hardtop belonged to the seller’s grandfather and the whole family has been caretakers of Studebaker automobiles for years. It’s available in Casper, Wyoming, and here on craigslist for $10,000 OBO. We appreciate this cool top, T.J.

The Lark and its variants were built between 1959 and the end of Studebaker automobile production in 1966. The cars were built at the company’s plants in South Bend, Indiana, and Hamilton, Ontario. The autos were also exported to several countries as completed units and knocked down kits which were then assembled locally. Beginning in 1963, the Lark name was gradually phased out, and – by early 1964 – Lark-based models were sold under just Commander, Daytona, and Cruiser nameplates.

These cars were available with both six and eight-cylinder power. In the case of the seller’s nice Lark, the V8 had a displacement of 259 cubic inches and this one has been rebuilt, so its running condition is said to be excellent along with the automatic transmission. The says he/she would have no qualms about taking Grandpa’s Studebaker on a road trip. This car is one of 4,565 Lark 2-door V8 hardtops built in 1960, although another 2,829 copies left the factory with inline-six power.

We’re told this car wears all its original sheet metal and is in clean, original condition. The paint and the interior are equally nice. These are cars you seldom see these days and  — when you do – they’re more likely to be 2 or 4-door sedans which saw greater production numbers (more than 122,000 Larks overall in 1960). Ford would soon enter the market with the Falcon, Plymouth with the Valiant, and Chevy with the Nova. AMC had arrived on the compact scene at the same time as the Lark with their American.

Comments

  1. Todd J. Member

    What a nice car! I think Grandpa took good care of this.

    Like 10
  2. That AMC Guy

    AMC’s predecessor company, Nash, actually arrived on the compact scene in 1950 with the Nash Rambler. (AMC’s first-generation Rambler American was a lightly-revised version of that car.)

    Like 8
    • stillrunners stillrunners Member

      Was that actually a compact ?

      Like 1
  3. SMS

    Friend of mine had a Lark. Think it was a 63. Had a six with a three speed. Not sure if it was just her car, or that she took good care of it, or what, but nothing ever broke on the car. She drove all over the country in the 80’s. Me and other friends would change the fluids and help her keep it in shape. Was just a real nice car

    Like 11
  4. Bultaco

    I was brought home from the hospital as a newborn in a Lark. My dad loved Studebakers because they were sturdy and reliable with style. Ours was a white convertible with a red interior.

    Like 9
    • Psychofish2

      I was brought home in a ’50 bullet nose with the wrap around rear window. Seafoam green and six years old at that time.

      It warped me for misfit cars to this day.

      Happy Motoring Bultaco

      • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

        Psychofish2,

        I’ve had 3 different Starlite Coupes [the ones with the 4 piece rear window];
        1950 Champion Deluxe with O/D
        1951 Champion Regal Deluxe with O/D
        1951 Commander Starlite with V8 and auto trans.

        The Champions were a delight to drive, but the Commander was a gas hog and much slower, even with the V8.

  5. Howard A Member

    “Wiiiiilbur,,Hello, I’m Mr. Ed”, ( cue spritely intro) That show, 1961-1966, featuring a talking horse, was the #1 TV show in the early 60’s. The sponsor was Studebaker, and featured many of their models, including the “Addisons”, that drove an Avanti. It was the most exposure most of us got from Studebaker. They were the #5 automaker, close behind Rambler(#4), although folks from S.Bend, had it t’other way ’round. No matter, neither one could compete with the Big 3, but Studebaker had a loyal following, and the Lark was a good car. It had many features even the lowly Rambler didn’t have, like improved heaters, suspended brake and cluth pedals( previously in the floor), disc brakes( later), and the 1st smaller car to offer a V8. Falcon and Rambler American, and Chevy ll, it’s rivals only had 6’s. The Lark got a bad rap, but it really was a good car with all aftermarket components, probably still available today( in dusty boxes). Great find, just ask Mr. Ed,,
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ7aOR9E9IM

    Like 13
    • Will Fox

      I agree 100% Howard. This beautiful `60 hardtop would make an excellent “first” collector car even for me! This example is very solid, all original, and a one-family ownership. I would be tickled to call this mine. You never see these at car shows (short of Studebaker Club Nationals) and this one might need just a buff/detail job and period correct whitewall Cokers to show off! Roll all four windows down, and be ready to turn some heads!

      Like 10
    • ramblergarage

      A lot of wrong info there, Rambler had a V8 from 1957 on, the heater and A/C was far superior to anything on the market and is still used today. They had suspended pedals from 1956 on. Had a dual brake system from 62 on. Only Caddys and RR had that. Rambler had disc brakes in 65.

      Like 3
    • stillrunners stillrunners Member

      Actually there were more of the Lark’s featured Howard – don’t remember Wilbur driving up in an Avanti.

    • Howard A Member

      What posts of mine are you reading, or more accurately, not reading? I’m not illiterate, and my posts, geared for 3rd graders, should be pretty clear,, here it is, AGAIN,,the Lark was geared for the Rambler American/Falcon market that had no V8, not the full size Rambler, and I never said Wilbur drove an Avanti, it was his neighbors, the Addisons.

      Like 1
  6. RayT Member

    A family friend had a Lark VIII convertible. Hers had the three-on-tree, and seemed a very decent car.

    I really, really like the looks of the coupe, and must say I wouldn’t mind owning one. It’d have to have a/c, though. Much as I dislike tampering with originality, I’d probably get one of those Vintage Air units installed…

    And, in an ideal world, mine would be a different color. That’s quibbling, though. A VERY nice car!

    Like 6
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      RayT,

      I drove Studebakers as everyday cars thru the 1980s, and have added original under dash A/C in several, and I am sure even today someone will be selling everything needed to add A/C, or you can find parts cars with the A/C.

      Like 4
  7. JohnnyD

    Of the few Lark’s I ever saw back then were in that color. I wonder what other colors were available?

  8. Don

    Did anyone notice? It would appear that they have a 55 President Speedster under the tarp, now that one is really something worth preserving!

    Like 6
    • Bill Jones Member

      Definitely a 55 ! Speedster though?, I can’t tell.

  9. Jeff Hayes Member

    This car has 4-40 a/c like many ’50’s and 60’s cars-open all 4 windows and drive 40 mph.

    Like 2
  10. Jeff Hayes Member

    This car has 4-40 a/c like many ’50’s and 60’s cars-open all 4 windows and drive 40 mph.

  11. Jim Trook

    I had a ’60 Lark VIII convertible, yellow w/ tan top as I recall. Good little car, bought it in Maine, towed a trailer back to Ne. with it & had no trouble. Curious if anyone would know where it is now…..Ser. # was 60v25183.

    Like 2
  12. Daniel Bayne

    This exact Lark was in my Grandmothers garage in 65. It sat there until the estate sale in 74. Hindsight. I was 17.

    Like 3
  13. Denny N. Member

    I’m finding no listing on the Wyoming Craigslist. So – sold?

  14. Joe Haska

    I think this car certainly would be a greater starter car, for someone, that has never had any type of a collector car or a relatively old car. It would be a great way to jump in feet first and find out, what all this crazyness is about. It would be pretty much risk free. Just buy the car and put little or no money in it, then drive as much as you can. Go to cruise nights ,small local shows talk with people, think of it as research, for an essay on America Car Culture. The good news is it won’t take long, my guess is that there will be no middle road, it will probably be an imediate love hate relationship. If it is hate, sell the car for close or even more than you paid and move on. If it is love, sell the car for close or even more than you paid and move on. Either way you get an experience , some what of an education and maybe you can get paid for an essay on an American sub culture.

    Like 4
  15. charlies Member

    Collage friend had a ’60 convertible special ordered with A/C (he was from Texas). Dealer was skeptical but cash speaks and Studebaker built it. V8 and all the power accessories offered, it was a great car, did the New England/Texas trip twice a year for 4 years of college, with no issues.

    Like 2
  16. Hemistateofmine

    Back in the early 90s I bought a ’60 2 door V8 wagon with 3-on-the-tree, from an original owner in Palos Verdes. He used it for commuting to his work as an engineer at Honeywell. After he retired, he rarely drove it until I spotted him in a mall parking lot in Torrance, CA. Classic, left my note/biz cd and he called me a few weeks later. Made the deal that Friday for $600.

    Had 63k miles and drove it for 8 months as the company grocery-getter till trading it, along with a 63 Wagonaire, for something or another, can’t recall. But I do remember the Larks that seemed to find me throughout the 80s and early 90s. Reliable and comfortable to drive.

  17. Sam Shive

    Sweet Little Ride

  18. Stu

    A great starter in the collector car hobby. That thing would sing with an LS3 in it!

  19. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Rare hardtop there or did anyone notice – had one pass thru my driveway with that V/8 under the hood….maybe one I should have kept.

    • Psychofish2

      I think the author did:

      ‘This car is one of 4,565 Lark 2-door V8 hardtops built in 1960, although another 2,829 copies left the factory with inline-six power.’

  20. T. Pond

    I have a ’60 Lark convertible, red with a tan top. Wish it was original but someone changed motor and tranny with Chevy crate 350,etc.

  21. Peter Loeffelbein

    My wife would be on board to buy this if I can convince her of the economy of the Lark. Does anyone know what the mpg would be? I’m guessing 18-20(?) mid twenties would be awesome.

  22. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    Peter,

    I don’t remember the exact mileage recorded during the MobilGas Economy runs [1950 to 1968], but Studebakers and the compact versions of Rambler [but not the Metropolitan, as it was an import] were so consistently below all the other US cars, that the organizers created a separate category for them.

    There are a lot of variables here, like your driving habits and the general overall mechanical condition of the car, but it’s not impossible for these cars to achieve well over the 18 to 20 MPG you seek.

    I operated a commercial antique repair and restoration shop for many years, and I’ve owned hundreds of old cars. As an everyday ‘runaround’ car, I drove many Studebakers, my favorite was a red 1962 Lark Daytona 6 cylinder convertible. They are easy to repair, & mechanical parts are not difficult to source. [NAPA has most mechanical parts available.]

    If you do buy this car, DO join the SDC [Studebaker Driver’s Club].

    Like 3
  23. Gary Saxton

    I passed my drivers test in my buddies Mom’s 62 Lark. Thank you Mrs. Wisner and son Larry. Who I recently reconnected with after 55 years, Of Parma ,O.

  24. bone

    I dont know if anyone here has noticed, but this “all original” car has definitely been repainted, and not that well. There are areas of weatherstipping painted tan where they missed with the masking tape , and under the hood shows the latch and wiring painted over. The seats look like they’ve been reupholstered in some sort of velour instead of vinyl as well. Its a nice looking car, but worth looked over well before purchasing if the owner cant be honest about the car

    • chrlsful

      yeah nota official ‘survivor’.
      Don’t matter anyway.
      Nice rig. I hada ’62 440 American (next iteration of this). White over red w/black rag. Big square box ever tho ‘an economy down sized’. Quiet, smooth i6 (3L?). I like it’s predecessor’s style better (aerodynamic) the 1st gen Rambler while still w/Nash (the ‘bath tub’, frnt fender skirts, etc) or even better the ’55 Hudson & country-club, ’58 Super, ’59 club sedan, etc

  25. Bill Jones Member

    The seats are; I believe, original. They are dusty, but look to me as original. I have actually lost count of all the Studebakers I have owned and I am pretty certain the interior as shown in the photos is original.

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